Formnext 2018 kicked off this morning and companies from across the AM spectrum are making the most of it. Desktop Metal is the latest company to release a piece of exciting news: it has announced a number of major advancements to its Production System metal 3D printer for mass production. The machine is marketed as the world’s fastest metal printer with the lowest cost per part and highest capacity of any printer on the market.
Though Desktop Metal released its first metal 3D printer model, the Studio System, some time ago, many have been eagerly waiting the availability of the Production System. Well, the wait won’t be for much longer, as Desktop Metal says it is preparing to install the first system with a customer—a Fortune 500 company among Desktop Metal’s early pioneer customers—in early 2019.
This first installation will be followed by others in the automotive, heavy duty and metal parts manufacturing industries throughout 2019. Broad availability of the Production System is expected for 2020.
“We are excited to provide the international engineering and design community with deeper insights into the power of the Production System with updated innovations and an extensive display of metal parts to be publicly shown for the first time this week,” said Ric Fulop, CEO and co-founder of Desktop Metal. “As we continue to expand our list of global customers and partners, companies that are turning to the game-changing technology available with the Production System, and installations set to begin rolling out in the coming months, Desktop Metal is looking to further shift the industry beyond prototyping to now include full scale metal manufacturing.”
Faster and bigger
The upgraded Production System announced at Formnext integrates a number of new features, including accelerated print speeds of up to 12,000 c m3 per hour (the fastest speeds of any metal 3D printer on the market), and a larger build volume of 750 x 330 x 250 mm (a 225% improvement on the previously announced size).
The new Production System also comes with two full-width print bars, advanced powder spreaders and anti-ballistic system that effectively spread powder and print in a single quick pass across the build area. The company says the system is “the most sophisticated single pass inkjet printhead ever installed in a binder jet system.”
Other upgrades include the use of 32,768 piezo inkjet nozzles that enable the broadest range of binder chemistries to print a variety of metal powders, including tool steels, low alloy steels, titanium and aluminum, at a rate of 3 billion drops per second. Notably, the Production System is the first binder jet system that is equipped with an industrial inert environment that features gas recycling and solvent recovery for the safe printing of reactive metals.
Lastly, Desktop Metal emphasized the Production Systems capacity to 3D print over 60 kg of metal parts per hour, making it suitable for mass production applications.
What’s on at Formnext
In addition to the news of the Production System upgrades, Desktop Metal is showcasing a range of printed samples at Formnext this week to demonstrate the viability of its metal 3D printing platform for a range of industries, including the automotive, industrial machinery, consumer products, manufacturing and tooling sectors.
Below are a few examples of parts that will be on display at Desktop Metal’s Formnext booth (Hall 3.0, booth C10):
- A spauger bit 3D printed for Desktop Metal Pioneer customer Milwaukee Tool that features complex geometry. The part, which would be impossible or extremely difficult to produce using traditional manufacturing, was manufactured on the Production System in just four steps (compared to over 20). The metal 3D printer is also able to turn out 1,400 spauger bits in a single four-hour build.
- Generative designed gears are on display to showcase the Production System’s capacity to print mass customized batches with embedded serial numbers or identification codes, doing away with post-processing steps.
- Print-in-place hinges showcase assembly consolidation for high-volume production. Whereas traditional hinges, such as those used in eyewear, require meticulous assembly, the Production System is able to 3D print over 45,000 pre-assembled hinges for glasses in just four hours.
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